Under home contents insurances valuables are usually defined as jewellery, watches, gold, silver, precious metals, gemstones, furs, pictures, curios and other works of art, stamp, coin and medal collections, televisions, radios, home computers, audio and home computer equipment. The reason for the definition is that valuables are more high risk than other general household goods and are targeted when there is a burglary. Valuables also have a higher cost than most other general contents. An insurer would consider a home to be an increased risk if has a high combination of valuables compared with the other contents, so for that reason they set a valuables limit to ensure that they are not exposed to unbalanced policies without their knowledge.
The total valuables limit is usually one-third of the contents sum insured or £5,000 whichever is the greater, with a single item of valuables £1,500. This will vary from insurer to insurer. Most insurers can cater for higher total valuables and single item worth more than the single limit by specifying on the schedule. Your policy wording will detail the set policy limits applicable.
More claims arise from escape of water (or oil) than any other under home insurance, making the cover given and the terms applied an important issue when choosing a policy.
A home insurance will cover the damage caused by the escape of water from fixed domestic heating or water installations and domestic appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. A buildings policy will cover the damage caused to the buildings and a contents insurance will cover the damage to the contents. One area which is not insured is the plumbing works to rectify the leak, as this is considered a maintenance, a general upkeep issue so the responsibility of the homeowner. Some more comprehensive home buildings insurances will cover the cost of tracing and accessing the leak by a tradesman, but not the leak repairs.
As always there are terms and conditions applying, escape of water damage is generally excluded when the home has been unoccupied for a set period detailed in the policy wording, which could be 30 or 60 days. Escape of water resulting in subsidence, ground heave and landslip is excluded. Finally it is common practice with insurers to have an increased compulsory excess for this peril of usually £250, with any voluntary excess on the policy added on top. Please check your insurance schedule and policy wording for details of your cover, terms and conditions.
When renting there’s always the possibility of accidentally causing damage to the landlord’s buildings and then being liable for the costs. If as a tenant you have a home contents insurance in force covering your possessions, then you may have tenants liability cover for damage to the building. This policy extension usually comes with a limit, often 20% of your contents sum insured including additional costs and expenses, such as architects and surveyors fees, clearing debris, shoring or propping up and the cost of complying with any government or local authority requirements. Sounds heavy stuff, most of which may not be required, but the basic provision of cover gives the tenant assurance and peace of mind.
Please check in your policy wording to see whether cover is in force or if you are looking for a tenants contents insurance quote including this extension we would be pleased to help.
Insurers are usually good at keeping up with changes in lifestyles and are willing in adapt home insurance accordingly, provided the change is in keeping with a domestic policy and the risk isn’t significantly increased. Most standard policies now come with automatic cover for office contents owned or the legal responsibility of the policyholder. Limits generally apply, maybe £5,000 or 10% of the overall home contents sum insured, whichever is the lessor. Cover applies for own use and in connection with the policyholder’s business or occupation, although it is worth mentioning that any liabilities arising from business activities would be excluded. Office contents more specifically insured elsewhere, such as a business office policy, would also be excluded. If you need a wider scope of cover then a homeworkers insurance may be suitable, especially if you run your own business from home. Homeworkers policies are a combination of home and office insurance, where you can insure a full range of office equipment at home, cover laptops, cameras and mobile phones whilst away on business, employers and public liability, business interruption and business money. For details try searching online for homeworkers insurance or contact an insurance broker for advice.
As always the devil is in the detail. The policy wording relating to your home insurance will tell you if there is cover and if so the limits, terms, conditions and exclusions.
Modern policies usually come with ‘new for old’ settlement as standard for contents and personal possessions, with no deduction for wear and tear and depreciation. The only exception being clothing and linen, which generally have a short life span. Great for the insuring public and beneficial for insurers, who don’t want to waste time and resources haggling over claim settlements.
To make the ‘new for old’ agreement between insurers and policyholders a fair one, the contents should be insured for the new replacement cost. Therefore when you are calculating a sum insured that is right for you, think of the new price for your contents. For guidance with your home contents sum insured try the home contents calculator
This summer has been a wash out as far as the weather is concerned. Rain, rain and yet more rain, causing localised flooding and disaster for all concerned. However with rain comes wet ground, reducing the need for trees and shrubs to extend their roots in search of moisture, which should result in fewer incidents of subsidence damage. Tree and shrub roots are a major cause of subsidence, especially in shrinkable soil areas.
We all enjoy a sunny day, but prolonged spells of hot weather results in a rise in subsidence damage. The summer of 2012 might be a low point for sun lovers, but it may be a season with fewer subsidence damage than usual. Subsidence is costly for insurers, so fewer claims may mean less of a squeeze on home insurance premiums, helping to lessen the effects as insurers compare premiums with claim payments.
Generally the definition of what constitutes Buildings and Contents under a home insurance is commonsense and straight forward. Buildings being all domestic buildings within the boundaries of the land, owned by the insured and permanent fixtures and fittings. Contents are portable items, possessions you’d take with you if you move, including carpets and curtains. There are however a few areas which can cause confusion, so here we go.
- Flooring, glued, nailed or stuck down would usually be considered Buildings, with carpets coming under Contents.
- Fitted kitchens and bathrooms under Buildings, but free standing (not built in) domestic appliances being Contents.
- Satellite dishes, receiving aerials, their fittings and masts are considered Contents, as seen as an extension of the television.
The insurance policy wording will give you a definition of Home Buildings and Contents, along with the terms, conditions and exclusions. Insurers usually keep to a plain English format, to make the policy wording easier to understand. Leaving aside complex insurance jargon. If you’re still none the wiser, then any queries should be ironed out in a phone call.
Working out how much to insure your home contents for doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little assistance from our House Contents Calculator, the job can be done in the matter of minutes. It is important to make sure you are adequately insured – too little and you could be under-insured, too much and you end up paying more than you need to. Policies giving a flat sum insured of £35,000 or £50,000 aren’t always the answer, as if you have a modest amount of contents this option could be expensive. At the other end of the scale, the sum insured limit might not be enough. You should also check the total valuables limit and the single article limit, found in the small print, so see if the policy is suitable. When it comes to making decisions on the purchase of a policy, guidance from an Insurance Broker, who can recommend the policy suitable for you, is the best option.
Nearly all contents insurances give a ‘New for Old’ claims settlement, so to make the arrangement a fair one you should insure for new current replacement value. The only exceptions are clothing and linen, which generally have a short life span, so you should make a deduction for wear and tear and depreciation.
Please feel free to use our Home Contents Calculator, by clicking on the link below. We would be pleased to hear from you, as we can give competitive quotes for standard and non-standard home insurances.
House Contents Calculator